Zhaozhou Said Mu

Zhaozhou said Mu

Showing posts tagged quote

I think that most of the music that people listen to today is probably not the product of three people in a room, “just feelin’ it” in a rock way. It’s more about creating worlds. A lot of it’s being made on the computer; I would venture to say that 99 percent of it is. … And I think we’re in a world where people feel like they can beg, borrow and steal from any genre and it’s fair game, and that’s exciting. You don’t want to get stuck in any one thing.

Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent, in a recent NPR interview

People nowadays think that scientists exist to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc. to give them pleasure. The idea that these have something to teach them-that does not occur to them.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

All the limitative theorems of metamathematics and the theory of computation suggest that once the ability to represent your own structure has reached a certain critical point, that is the kiss of death; it guarantees that you can never represent yourself totally. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, Church’s Undecidability Theorem, Turing’s Halting Theorem, Tarski’s Truth Theorem - all have the flavor of some ancient fairy tale which warns you that “To seek self-knowledge is to embark on a journey which… will always be incomplete, cannot be charted on any map, will never halt, cannot be described.”

Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Once you begin to question your own sanity, you can get trapped in an ever-tighter vortex of self-fulfilling prophecies, though the process is by no means inevitable. Everyone knows that the insane interpret the world via their own peculiarly consistent logic; how can you tell if your own logic is “peculiar” or not, given that you have only your own logic to judge itself?

Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Theory is the distilled essence of practice.

William John Macquorn Rankine

The best things can’t be told. The second best are misunderstood.

Heinrich Zimmer

The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man. The objective world remains what it was, but, because of a shift of emphasis within the subject, is beheld as though transformed. Where formerly life and death contended, now enduring being is made manifest - as indifferent to the accidents of time as water boiling in a pot is to the destiny of a bubble, or as the cosmos to the appearance and disappearance of a galaxy of stars.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

For the most banal even to become an adventure, you must (and this is enough) begin to recount it. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his own life as if he were telling a story.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

When I hear Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 3, the hair cells in my cochlea parse the incoming sound into different frequency bands, sending electrical signals to my primary auditory cortex - area A1 - telling it what frequencies are present in the signal. Additional regions in the temporal lobe, including the superior temporal sulcus and the superior temporal gyrus on both sides of the brain, help to distinguish the different timbres I’m hearing. If I want to label those timbres, the hippocampus helps to retrieve the memory of similar sounds I’ve heard before, and then I’ll need to access my mental dictionary - which will require using structures found at the junction between the temporal, occipital, and parietal lobes. So far, these regions are the same ones, although activated in different ways and with different populations of neurons, that I would use to process the car horn. Whole new populations of neurons will become active, however, as I attend to pitch sequences (dorsalateral prefrontal cortex, and Brodmann areas 44 and 47), rhythms (the lateral cerebellum and the cerebellar vermis), and emotion (frontal lobes, cerebellum, the amygdala, and the nucleus accumbens - part of a network of structures involved in feelings of pleasure and reward, whether it is through eating, having sex, or listening to pleasurable music).

Daniel Levitin, This Is Your Brain On Music

Artists’ studios and scientists’ laboratories share similarities as well, with a large number of projects going on at once, in various stages of incompletion. Both require special tools and the results are - unlike the final plans for a suspension bridge, or the tallying of money in a bank account at the end of the business day - open to interpretation. What artists and scientists have in common is the ability to live in an open-ended state of interpretation and reinterpretation of the products of our work. The work of artists and scientists is ultimately the pursuit of truth, but members of both camps understand that truth in its very nature is contextual and changeable, dependent on point of view, and that today’s truths become tomorrow’s disproven hypotheses or forgotten object d’art. […] For the artist, the goal of the painting or musical composition is not to convey literal truth, but an aspect of a universal truth that if successful, will continue to move and to touch people even as contexts, societies, and cultures change. For the scientist, the goal of a theory is to convey “truth for now” - to replace an old truth, while accepting that someday this theory, too, will be replaced by a new “truth,” because that is the way science advances.

Daniel Levitin, This Is Your Brain On Music